Striking specialist Angelie “D Explorer” Sabanal has worked on sharpening all of the weapons in her arsenal during her seven-month break from ONE Championship.
Next Saturday, the Philippine national Muay Thai silver medalist will make her highly-anticipated return to mixed martial arts action.
She will square off against Itsuki Hirata on the preliminary card of ONE: Legendary Quest, which takes place at the Baoshan Arena in Shanghai, China.
Sabanal is coming off a unanimous decision loss at the hands of Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol at ONE: Warrior’s Dream last November. While the defeat stings, it revealed the areas of her game she needed to improve.
“My loss last November was more of a blessing in disguise because it showed me my weaknesses and the things that I need to work on,” the 29-year-old offered.
“I learned a lot after that fight in Jakarta. Now I’m even more dedicated as I want to achieve more in this sport.”
The Cagayan de Oro City’s goal is rather simple — it’s to become a better athlete each time she straps on the 4-ounce mixed martial arts gloves.
She can only do that by constantly working on her game during the off-season, which she promises she has done.
“I have been busy, and I made sure to work on my overall game. After my match in Jakarta, I was back to training to work on my weaknesses from that bout,” she said.
“I know that with determination, everything is possible. That is what I will show in China.”
Whether she has done enough work will be tested on June 15. She will be taking on a highly acclaimed grappling specialist, who will be competing in her first professional contest.
Although Hirata has been dominant on the amateur level, Sabanal vows not to fall victim to the Japanese debutant when she appears on the global stage for martial arts.
“I don’t know much about her, but I know that she’s very dangerous on the ground,” the Filipina said.
“That’s why I’m working on all aspects of my game, so I will be ready with whatever she throws at me in our match.”
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